Freo's View

LACKLUSTRE PROTEST AGAINST ROYAL GEORGE HIGHRISE

 

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About one hundred people, including Labor politicians Josh Wilson MP and Lisa O’Malley MLA, turned up at East Fremantle’s Locke Park on Saturday morning to attend the protest by the Friends of the Royal George agains the planned 20 storey high-rise at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

Only East Freo artist Tony Jones questioned where the Friends of the Royal George had been during the last 20 years when the building was neglected, and that is probably a fair question.

It was a disappointingly lacklustre event though with no speeches or formal gathering, and when I asked one of the display and petition table attendants if we could get a group shot he replied that it was too difficult to get the small crowd together.

Many people just trundled off after a while as nothing was happening, so I suggest the East Freo “Friends” get some coaching from Fremantle groups on how to organise a proper protest rally.

Roel Loopers

EAST FREO ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PROTEST ON SATURDAY

 

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East Fremantle residents and heritage supporters will be holding a protest tomorrow against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of a 19 storey high-rise building at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

The protest gathering will be this Saturday at 10.30 am at Locke Park on the corner of Fletcher and Moss streets, north of East Fremantle Oval.

East Fremantle Council approved a scheme amendment of a maximum of six storeys, but that has been rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which wants changes made to the amendment, and East Freo locals fear they might end up with the huge high-rise they strongly petitioned against.

Roel Loopers

1,800 PETITION AGAINST ROYAL GEORGE HIGHRISE

 

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East Fremantle residents against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of an 19 storey highrise building behind the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street have lobbied the State Government by presenting an 1,800 signatures strong petition to the Member of Fremantle Simone McGurk.

East Fremantle Council has rejected the proposal, as the scheme amendment for the area only allows for buildings up to six storeys high, but now the State’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will consider the development proposal.

Roel Loopers

FRIENDS OF ROYAL GEORGE AGAINST HIGHRISE

 

 

The news that The Friends of Royal George community group has been established in East Fremantle makes sense as it is always important for state government agencies to be aware of the feelings in the community, even when East Fremantle Council’s Royal George scheme amendment only allows for six storey buildings in the area.

Saracen Properties wants to build a slim 15 storey tower on top of a four storey podium, but it is unlikely JDAP or SAT would approve that under the present local scheme.

People point out that a state agency approved 16 storeys on the former Subiaco market site, but that is very different from the East Freo proposal. The Subi site is only metres away from the train station and bus transport and that does not apply to the East Fremantle location that is miles away from the Fremantle railway station and not that close to other forms of public transport either.

While I personally quite like the elegant tall spike designed by Michael Patroni’s spaceagency and do believe a landmark highrise would be appropriate in that location, I also believe that the 19 storey proposal does not adequately address the urban infill requirements of the state government.

When we impose very high buildings on a low rise community the main purpose of the development should be to create many new homes for many people, and not as is the case at the Royal George a mere 40 apartments for a few selected well off on 15 floors.

I am not sure if Saracen Properties will present their proposal to JDAP or come up with a much lower building. The architects told me some weeks ago that they are still looking at it on the computer.

Roel Loopers

 

FUTURE OF EAST FREO’S ROYAL GEORGE IN DOUBT

 

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The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE HEIGHT A HUGE PROBLEM

 

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It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers

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ROYAL GEORGE TOWER REVEALED

 

 

 

I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers

 

TALL DEVELOPMENT FOR ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

 

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The development proposal by Saracen Properties for the Royal George hotel site in East Fremantle is as exciting as it will be controversial.

The plans for the restoration of the gorgeous heritage building are great and would see the old building, that has been vacant for far too many years, be brought back to life and activation.

The entire building would be restored, including the massive and very high cellars below, that would house a gin distillery or winemaking facility.

On Thursday afternoon Joel Saracen took me on a tour inside the building while our great Freo architect Michael Patroni of the High Street Spaceagency explained his thinking behind the concept.

The Royal George would house a cafe, restaurant, bar, function and community meeting rooms and tourist accommodation, while they would also develop a new public realm between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

On the flip side all the expensive heritage restoration needs to be paid for and the proposal is for a 19 storey slim elliptical spike that is set back from a so called podium in Duke Street. It would house 40 large apartments. The building would have ‘fins’ to make it visually more attractive and would become an iconic landmark pointing to the Fremantle area.

The height along Duke Street would be similar to the height of the Brush Factorey and Royal George.

Parking for residents would be provided for inside the building with a car stacker, but does not include parking for the restaurant and bar patrons.

I know height is always going to be an issue in Fremantle, but I believe that a really well designed slim and very high building could be accommodated in that location. No doubt many locals will disagree with me.

There is a very nice brochure that explains most things but I am flabbergasted by the ‘clever’ PR of explaining why a taller building is better than a shorter and wider building, and showing the ugly shorter box, but not actually showing the proposed 19-storey slim tower. The cynical public will no doubt ask what the developers are trying to hide by not showing the tower.

The decision making authority will be the WA State Development Assessment Panel, not East Fremantle Council.

Roel Loopers

PS: I was promised on Thursday that the developers would email me some images, but still have not received any at 10 am on Saturday so just copied some from the brochure. I publish a daily blog not a quarterly magazine. :>)

 

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VISION FOR GREATER FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, town of east fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on April 26, 2017

 

East Fremantle Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail is Australia’s youngest Deputy Mayor. His impressive presentation at the Fremantle Network of the vision plan for the East Freo Leeuwing Barracks and foreshore showed why he was elected by his peers to the position.

A lot of water will flow under the bridges before the plans will be realised as the Defence Department owns the land and will have the final say after all, but at least the Town of East Fremantle is pro-actively involved in what must be one of the most significant development projects for the town and greater Fremantle.

McPhail said this was Fremantle’s day and Fremantle’s time and that the area is an emerging area for opportunity thanks to Fremantle Council, and it needs a regional big picture view.

He said the two major future visions for river foreshore development in the Perth metro area are the Leeuwin Barracks and the South Quay project, and he showed East Fremantle’s Port to Point Vision, all the way from Fremantle Port to Point Walter. It is about how we reconnect Fremantle to its foreshore McPail said.

He rightly pointed out that the South Quay project is a long way away still, while the Leeuwin development is imminent with land sales starting later this year, and said the East Street jetty area could be beautified by Fremantle Council before that.

Riverside Drive is old and needs to be realligned to accommodate the vision plans and the huge Leeuwin development that would see some 1,400 new residents moving into new apartment buildings, a new hotel, shops and large green open spaces for residents and the wider community to enjoy.

The vision showed two major 15-storey towers on the 14 hectare site plus 4-8 storey buildings spread among the large public spaces that will connect to river boardwalks.

It will require careful planning by the Town of East Fremantle and Mainroads to accommodate the additional vehicle movement along Preston Point Road and Riverside Drive as the majority of the new residents and visitors will be driving cars.

Michael McPhail is right that he sees this as a huge opportunity for Greater Fremantle and I believe it is essential for the two local councils and State Government to work together on a vision plan for the foreshore area from the Fremantle railway station all the way to Point Walter.

Roel Loopers

FINALLY ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on February 19, 2016

After far too many years of being neglected and standing vacant the 1903 built Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle will finally be renovated and the parking site behind it developed.

Saracen Properties will initially lease the property from the National Trust but will be able to purchase it after rigorous heritage assessment of the proposed residential apartment building behind the heritage-listed building.

Th former hotel will be turned back to a pub and restaurant at ground level and short-stay accommodation at the upper level.

The question will be how many apartments and how many storeys Saracen want to build behind the old hotel, as this was very controversial at the burnt-out Guildford Hotel where State agencies overruled the local council there and allowed inappropriately high building behind the hotel. Hopefully Saracen want a more modest residential building that respects the heritage and streetscape.

We will have to keep a close eye on the proposed development, but at least something is happening with the hotel at the far end of charming George Street.

Roel Loopers

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